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After ICE agents appear to illegally enter home to detain man, lawmakers demand answers

October 20, 2017
In The News

Oregon lawmakers are demanding answers from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, after ICE agents appear to have illegally entred into a home to detain a man, who was released hours later.

The incident occurred Thursday afternoon as George Cardenas and Carlos Bolanos were working on renovating a house. Three ICE agents entered the home looking for Bolanos while Cardenas filmed the entire incident.

Cardenas is heard on video pleading with the agents that they entered the house illegally and had no right to be there. Bolanos was ultimately detained, only to be released several hours later.

"I felt like I had to record it. I had to record every single second of this because I knew these people they get these power trips and they think they can do whatever they want," Cardenas said. "And that's not right and they knew they were going to mess up, they already messed up by coming in the home first of all."

Bolanos' family says federal agents called the incident a "mistake."

"They let him go as soon as they got to the ICE detention center," his niece Arizbet Bolanos said. "They're claiming it was a mistake."

Thursday night, Yameen Pitts O'Keefe, a spokesman for ICE, sent KATU the following statement, saying the incident is under review.

“The alien at issue has been released from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody pending further investigation regarding the circumstances of his arrest, and the matter has been referred to the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility and the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General. The Agency is reviewing this incident,” he wrote.

Friday, Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden sent a letter to Deputy Field Office Director Elizabeth Godfrey demanding the following:

  • A copy of the results of ICE Office of Professional Responsibility and The Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General’s review.
  • A clear explanation into the policies and practices that led to Mr. Bolanos’ arrest.
  • Whether the behavior demonstrated by ICE agents who detained Mr. Bolanos is consistent with agency guidelines.
  • What measures, if any, have been initiated to correct inappropriate and potentially unlawful behavior by agents involved in these incidents?

Just last month, Washington County resident and American citizen Isidro Andrade-Tafolla was also wrongly detained by ICE agents outside the Washington County Courthouse.

That incident prompted US Rep. Suzanne Bonamici to call for an official investigation into the actions of those ICE agents.

Rep. Bonamici, along with Rep. Earl Blumenauer, has sent another letter to ICE Acting Director Thomas Homan, demanding answers about Andrade-Tafolla's detainment, as well as the incident involving Bolanos.

“Without a response, we will assume that an investigation into the Washington County incident is not underway. Now after this most recent incident, it is even more disturbing to witness ICE agents act inappropriately again, only a month later,” the lawmakers wrote. “Director Godfrey emphasized the need for public trust in law enforcement and the ICE agency. We share that goal, but these two recent examples of inappropriate behavior by ICE agents are serious threats to people we represent, and they undermine public confidence in the integrity of the agency.”

The 7-minute video Cardenas posted has nearly 500,000 views on Facebook: